Second-Half Comeback Falls Short in First-Place Tilt
Nov. 9, 2013
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EASTON, Pa. - Lafayette battled back from a 28-10 halftime deficit but came up short in a 28-24 battle for first place in the Patriot League standings. The game on Saturday at Fisher Stadium marked the Leopards' first conference loss of the season and Lafayette is now tied with Colgate and Lehigh for first place (each with one Patriot League loss).
Freshman QB Drew Reed continued his fine play, completing 19-of-25 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns. Junior TB Ross Scheuerman racked up 291 all-purpose yards, rushing for 56 yards, while reeling in five passes for 91 yards including a pair of touchdowns. He also managed five kick returns for 144 yards. Colgate's Demetrius Russell rushed for 92 yards with three touchdowns for Colgate (4-6, 3-1).
The Raiders started the scoring on their first drive of the game, marching 79 yards on 10 plays in less than five minutes. Russell punched it in from one yard out to give Colgate an early 7-0 lead.
Lafayette (3-6, 3-1) answered with a field goal on the ensuing drive after Scheuerman returned the kickoff 41 yards to the Raiders' 43-yard line. On a 3rd-and-12, Reed connected with Scheuerman for a 20-yard completion. The Leopards settled for a 36-yard Ryan Gralish field goal.
Colgate responded with a long kick return of its own, returning it 74 yards to the Lafayette 16-yard line. Two plays later, Russell found the end zone again, this time from two yards out. The score gave Colgate a 14-3 advantage midway through the first quarter.
After a Leopards' three and out, Colgate put together a 12-play, 82-yard drive that took seven minutes. Fullback Ed Pavalko found paydirt from one yard out to give the Raiders a 21-3 advantage at 11:57.
Scheuerman's 22-yard kick return to the Colgate 44-yard line set up another score. Four plays later, Reed hit tight end Brandon Hall for a 31-yard completion to give the Leopards a 1st-and-goal at the seven. After a pass interference call in the end zone, Scheuerman rushed it in from two yards out for the TD, his 10th of the season. Colgate led 21-10 with 9:12 left in the half.
Colgate proceeded to put together its second 12-play drive. The Raiders covered 74 yards, running 7:30 off the clock. The drive was aided by a missed incompletion call on a pass when the ball bounced off the turf. Several plays later, Russell rushed it into the endzone from one yard out for his third score of the game. The touchdown gave Colgate a 28-10 lead with 1:42 to go in the first half and it remained that way until halftime.
On Lafayette's first drive of the second half, the Leopards scored quickly. Reed found a wide-open Scheuerman in the end zone for 24 yards and the score. Scheuerman's second touchdown of the game cut the Raiders lead back down to 11 at 28-17 with 12:26 remaining in the third.
On Colgate's first possession of the second half, the Raiders drove inside the red zone before Matt Smalley came up with a timely interception. The pick spearheaded a 14-play, 97-yard drive which included a 29-yard completion to Mark Ross on a 3rd-and-8 which kept the drive alive. Six plays later, Hall came up big with a two-handed grab stretched for the first down marker to convert another third down. Reed later found Scheuerman wide open in the end zone for the 16-yard score that trimmed Colgate's lead to 28-24 with two minutes to go in the third.
The Leopards' defense forced Colgate to punt for the first time on the day early in the fourth. The offense embarked on another drive starting at its own three-yard line. Three plays into the drive, Reed hit Demetrius Dixon for 37 yards to move the ball into Colgate territory. On 4th-and-1 from the Raiders' 29-yard line, Greg Kessel received the handoff and was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. Colgate took over on downs.
After forcing Colgate to a three and out, the Leopards took over at their own 32-yard line with 5:31 remaining in the game. Reed was sacked on first down and followed with two incompletions, forcing Lafayette to punt it back to the Raiders.
Colgate took three and half minutes off the clock before Jake McTighe came up with a stop on 3rd-and-six, forcing Colgate to give it back to Lafayette with just less than two minutes remaining in the game.
Lafayette took over on its 26 with 1:54 showing on the clock, Reed made three straight completions to move the ball down the field for the potential go-ahead score. He hit Scheuerman for 18 yards before finding Ross on back-to-back passes for eight and five yards to cross midfield. After two incompletions, Reed found Ross in the middle of the field on third down before being tackled six yards short of the first down marker.
A costly false start penalty backed the Leopards up for a long fourth down. Reed looked to Ross, his go-to receiver in the second half. The pass fell incomplete and Colgate hung on for the win.
Defensively, senior LB Mike Boles made 13 stops for the Leopards who surrendered 197 yards on the ground (172 in the first half).
Lafayette plays its final home game on Nov. 16, hosting Fordham at 3:30 p.m. Prior to the game, Lafayette will honor its senior class.